One study found that compared to non-coffee drinkers, individuals who drank moderate amounts of coffee (1.5 to 3.5 cups per day) sweetened with sugar or unsweetened were less likely to die over 7 years of follow-up. The results for individuals using artificial sweeteners were inconclusive.
Prior research on the health benefits of coffee found that coffee consumption is associated with a reduced risk of death, but no distinction was made between coffee consumed with artificial sweeteners or sugar and unsweetened coffee.
Health behavior questionnaire data were used from the UK Biobank study to assess the associations between consumption of unsweetened, artificially sweetened and sugar-sweetened coffee with all-cause and cause-specific deaths. More than 171,000 individuals with no known cancer or heart disease were asked a variety of health and nutritional behavior questions to determine coffee consumption habits.
The researchers found that over the 7-year follow-up, individuals who consumed any amount of unsweetened coffee were 16-21% less likely to die compared to individuals who did not drink coffee. They also found that individuals who drank 1.5 to 3.5 cups of coffee sweetened with sugar each day were 29-31% less likely to die compared to individuals who did not drink coffee.
According to the researchers, individuals who consumed sugar-sweetened coffee added, on average, just 1 teaspoon of sugar to a cup of coffee. The results were inconclusive for individuals who sweeten their coffee with artificial sweeteners.
Although coffee has properties that may provide health benefits, confounding variables such as differences in diet, socioeconomic status and other lifestyle factors may have influenced the results.
The researchers caution that the average amount of daily sugar added to a cup of coffee in this study is much less than specialty drinks at popular coffee shops, and many coffee drinkers could consume it in place of other drinks making comparisons with non-drinkers more challenging. .
According to this data, doctors can inform their patients that most coffee consumers do not need to eliminate the drink from their diet, but should be careful with coffee specialties with a higher calorie content.
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